Among the workshops offered was a legislative update presented by Joan Woodward, executive vice president of public policy for Travelers and head of the Travelers Institute.
The federal budget deficit is most troubling and the only way to get rid of it is to grow gross domestic product (GDP), she said. Tax loophole closures will raise revenue, she noted. The Cash for Clunkers program resulted in $3 billion worth of new car sales and boosted consumer confidence - but was it worth $8 billion in federal funds? The home buyer tax credit, which also increased consumer confidence and had a more sustainable effect, may have been a better use of federal dollars, she said. Other Woodward comments: The new consumer financial protection agency is the largest regulatory change to the U.S. financial system since the Great Depression. The $940 billion health care reform bill is not politically popular because it is still being regulated by 50 states. Cap and trade passed the house and will cost $740 billion.
She also addressed U.S. unemployment, hovering at 9.5% to 10% in October vs. basically full employment (4.5%) in 2007. The highest unemployment levels are among African-Americans at 16.1%, followed by Hispanics, 12.4% and Caucasians, 8.7%. High school graduates face 10% unemployment vs. 4.4% for college graduates. Nevada has a 15% unemployment rate; Michigan, 14%; California, 12%; and Illinois, about 10%.
Some members of ASA’s Executive Committee gathered after the annual meeting. Pictured here (L-R): Rick Fantham, Hajoca Corp., VP; Bill Kenny, Kenny Pipe & Supply, 2011 president; Scott Weaver, APR Supply, president-elect; Frank Nisonger, Slakey Brothers, 2011 chairman; Mark Hanley, Hajoca Corp., VP; Mike Adelizzi, ASA, secretary; Joe Poehling, First Supply, 2010 chairman. Not pictured here: Mark Whittington, Elkay, VP; John Strong, Economy Plumbing Supply, VP; Jeff Pope, F.W. Webb, treasurer; and Robert Vick, Legend Valve, VP.
The Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating was represented at the opening reception by (L-R) Kevin Fullan of Mueller Flow Control, incoming chairman; Ralph Suppa, president and general manager; and Michael Storfer, president of Noble Trade.
Pictured here: Reggie Hickman of Brock McVey (L) networked with Terry Shafer of the Southern Wholesalers Association (SWA) and Don Gamble of Basco at the opening reception.
Pictured here: Wally Gumm of Embassy (L) greeted Nancy and Joel Becker of Torrington Supply.
Comparing notes were (L-R) Michael Lowe of AB&I Foundry; Dick Amaro of General Plumbing Supply; Frank Nisonger of Slakey Brothers; and Don Robertson of the Western Suppliers Association (WSA).